Do foreign settings ruin stories for you?

When authors first get into the publishing business, especially if they go the indie-author route, they’re nearly always told to set their stories in the United States, or else feature an American central character.

The theory is that United States readers won’t read a book set anywhere else featuring foreign characters.  And as US readers are the biggest readership in the world, authors are best to cater to American tastes and sensibilities.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always been a touch uncomfortable with that theory.

It’s actually false logic for a number of reasons.

  1. The size of the non-US, English-reading demographic is far larger than the US readers group.
  2. It’s painting all US readers the same and presuming they’re so insular, that non-US books alienate them.

Point number 2 might actually have been true…ten years or more ago.  I don’t think it applies anymore (if it ever did).

The COVID pandemic has made us all far more aware of the global population and how we’re all the same at the core (there isn’t a single country in the world that has zero COVID victims).  And as we all watched the rise and fall of mortalities and victims in other countries, it made us all consider events and people beyond our own national borders.  Especially now we can’t easily step across those borders, these days.

As you may or may not know, I am Australian born, and 24 years ago, I moved to Canada.  I’m now an Australian Canadian.  I’ve also travelled through North America, Asia and Europe and for a couple of years lived in south east Asia.

Yet for most of my writing life, I have set stories in the United States, or featured an American hero.

When it came to writing the first of the Harley Firebird stories, I hesitated, and toyed with the idea of setting this series very close to home.

All the reasoning I’ve outlined, above, I went through for myself, as I plotted the series.  And in the end, I decided that it would be a nice change of pace to set a series in my home province.

So the Harley Firebird series is set in Alberta, in the Canadian Rockies foothills (as I love mountains).

Story 1 of the series, The Dragon of Falconer, was released at all bookstores this morning.

Here be dragons…

Harley von Canmore is firebird–a rare breed, even among the Old Races.  She is also the Chief of Police of Falconer, a tiny town in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies.  Falconer is different, just as Harley is.  Everyone in the town is either one of the Old Races—orcs, fae, salamanders, and more—or they are human and waiting for their time to transform.

When a dead body is reported, Harley meets Campbell von Havre—the town’s only dragon and her superior, for they are both of the fire element.  Only Harley’s twenty years experience as a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer tells her that Campbell is hiding something.  When she investigates, what she learns about Campbell puts her in a quandary…

The Dragon of Falconer is part of the Harley Firebird urban fantasy series of novelettes, which is set in the same world as Taylen Carver’s Magorian & Jones series.

1.0: The Dragon of Falconer
…and more to come.

Urban Fantasy Novelette



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